A Hard Lesson

Now that C is starting to push 4 years old, I’ve been starting to work on getting him to be a little more respectful. He has a bad habit of shouting “No!” when he doesn’t want to do something, and I’ve been letting him know that that’s not how he talks to daddy (or mommy for that matter). For the most part, he’s okay with the new way things are, but he occasionally forgets.

This came to a head during our St. Patrick’s Day party. I was outside, talking with some other adults, and C was playing with a bunch of kids on the swingset. There was a minor altercation, and then C butted in line at the slide. I called him and he walked over towards us, looking angry.

I realized that more had happened than I had seen. Waiting in line is not something that he has any problem with, and he wouldn’t have looked nearly so angry if it had been a simple “I want to go first” episode. So, as he walked over, I called out gently “Hey big guy, you have to wait your turn. Right? Wait your turn.”

He stopped, looked at me, and shouted “No!”

It was loud enough that all the adults stopped talking and looked over at him.

I looked at him for a second and then said very quietly “You’re not talking to me like that, are you?”

A general murmur of “uh-oh” rippled through the adults, and C switched from being angry to being panicky. “Uh, um, no. I was talking to…” He looked around at the people near me. They were all adults. All the kids were behind him. “um…”

I could see him trying to pick who there would not be angry with being yelled at. He was shifting from foot to foot in his nervousness, peering at each adult. “um… I was talking to…”

All the adults were quietly watching him. A few were chuckling and a couple were saying to each other “well, he better not have been talking to me. That’s all I can say.”

“Um.. I was… I was talking to…” Finally he gave up. His feet stopped their nervous shuffling and his little shoulders slumped. “I have to wait my turn. Wait my turn.” He turned back and walked off to the slide.

I called out to him “Good choice, big guy. Good choice.” Without looking back, he threw up a one handed wave and then he was back in the crowd of kids.

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